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San Diego’s pilot program to recycle sewage into drinking water received a new convert this week in Mayor Jerry Sanders.

We reported Tuesday that Sanders spoke in favor of the $11.8 million sewage recycling pilot project in a press conference on the city’s water usage.

Sanders vetoed the program when City Council first voted on it two years ago, citing its cost. The council overrode his veto. That remained the mayor’s position as recently as two weeks ago when City Council voted 5-3 in favor of the sewage recycling program’s most recent contract.

Lani Lutar, president and CEO of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association, praised the mayor in a release today. The Taxpayers Association is part of a diverse, 13-member coalition in favor of the project that includes other business interests, organized labor and environmentalists.

To be sure, Sanders still expressed reservations about the safety of purified sewage. Sanders also spoke in support of increasing the infrastructure needed to use recycled sewage for irrigation. He has long been a supporter of desalination, too.

“I think we’re going to have to do something to get more water,” Sanders said at the press conference.

— LIAM DILLON

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